In 2018, a TV report told the story of Sílvia Grecco, who narrates soccer games for her son Nickollas, who suffers from blindness and autism. She brings her son to all the games of his favourite team, Palmeiras, in the city of São Paulo in Brazil, and describes the game for him, step by step, kick by kick. Their story went viral.
On the website of the International Football Federation (FIFA), Sílvia described what she does: “I go into details about the atmosphere, and the characteristics of each player. Narrating the goals is, beyond a doubt, the most exciting part.”
After his story came to light, Nickollas became the darling of the Palmeiras’ fanbase, and was able to meet the players of his favourite team.
The players and a former coach of the team were touched by the boy’s dedication, and by his mother’s commitment, effort, and affection. He has appeared next to a variety of famous athletes on social networks.
Nickollas, who is 11 years old, is Sílvia’s son by adoption (she also has a daughter). Born prematurely, at just five months, he weighed just 1.1 lb and was fighting to survive. Nickollas stayed in the hospital for four months. His retinas had not properly formed because of his early birth, hence his total blindness. Twelve couples who were waiting to adopt passed him up, but not Sílvia. “I know why [they didn’t take him]: he was reserved for me. He had to be my son,” she said proudly to a reporter for Brazilian media outlet Globo.
Nickollas and his mother were nominated and won ‘The Best FIFA Football Awards™’ 2019 ‘FIFA Fan Award’. It’s one of the best-known honours in the worldwide soccer community. This prize is awarded based on a popular vote, which takes place on the internet and was presented during the FIFA awards ceremony on September 23, in Milan, Italy.
—Adapted from Aleteia